Your own health is important. If you feel overstretched or ill, you will find it difficult to continue caring for your friend or relative, so you need to care for yourself as well.
Deal with stress
Signs of stress can include loss of self-esteem, lack of concentration, exhaustion or even hostility towards the person you are caring for. If you feel stressed, it is important to seek advice and support.
Visit your GP and tell the practice that you are a carer. They may offer a counselling service or tell you where you can find support.
Take a break
Without an occasional break from caring, you may become exhausted or unwell. If you live with the person you care for, you might feel that there's no time for yourself. Many carers experience a loss of identity because of the overwhelming effect of their caring role.
A break will allow you to do the things you may not have time for while you are caring, such as catching up with friends and family or having a rest.
You may need to arrange temporary care for the person you are looking after. Your local Social Services department may be able to arrange care at home or visits to a day care centre.
Who to contact
Crossroads offers practical support in the home, to let carers to take a break. Telephone Crossroads or use its website to find your nearest scheme.
England and Wales
Telephone: 0845 450 0350
Telephone: 0141 226 3793
For longer breaks
If you want to take a longer break, talk to Social Services or a District Nurse about arranging residential care. You may be able to get continuing care for the person you care for, paid for by the NHS. This care can take place in a hospital, a residential or nursing home, or at home.
Talk to other carers
Other carers are a great source of information, support and advice. Find out whether there is a carers’ support group near you by contacting your local hospice or GP.
Who to contact
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers
Visit www.carers.org to find out if there is a Princess Royal Trust for Carers centre near you. You can also contact other carers through the message board and chat room on this website.
Contact a Family
Contact a Family has details of parent support groups.
Freephone helpline: 0808 808 3555